The second season of high school football gets under way this weekend with four local teams competing in one of the five new Central Coast Section playoff brackets, none of which appear favorable for the local squads.
Menlo-Atherton (6-4), which finished in a three-way tie for first place in the PAL Bay Division this season, actually was seeded higher than the other two co-champions -- Sacred Heart Prep and Burlingame.
The Bears also have the only home game in the opening round of the Open Division I playoffs as the Bears host No. 5 San Benito (6-4) on Friday at Ben Parks Field at 7 p.m. The visiting Haybalers posted a 49-34 win over Palo Alto earlier in the nonleague season.
Palo Alto (4-6), which is facing a possible second straight losing season, also is in top-tier Division I playoffs and will travel on Friday to face No. 3 Salinas (6-4) at 7 p.m. The Vikings are allowing 37.2 points a game this season.
The Palo Alto-Salinas winner will face the winner of No. 7 Alvarez (4-6) and No. 2 Milpitas (8-2) in the semifinals. Palo Alto fell to Milpitas, 40-13, during the SCVAL De Anza Division season. The Menlo-Atherton/San Benito winner likely will face No. 1 Bellarmine (9-1) in the other semifinal.
Defending CCS Open Division champion Sacred Heart Prep (7-3) is competing in the Open Division III playoffs and will open Friday at No. 3 Live Oak (9-1) at 7 p.m. That winner will get either No. 7 Terra Nova (5-5) or No. 2 Monte Vista Christian (9-1) in the semifinals. Palma (9-1), the No. 1 seed, defeated SHP earlier this season, 31-28.
In the Division V playoffs, Menlo School (6-4) will head into the Santa Cruz Mountains on Saturday to face No. 4 Scotts Valley (7-3) at 1 p.m. That winner will face either No. 1 Pacific Grove (8-2) or No. 8 Capuchino (6-4) in the semifinals.
The champions of the three Open Division brackets, along with two of the three runner-up teams, will advance to one of 13 regional bowl games.